MLB's Best and Worst Contract Value

Matt WardContributor IDecember 3, 2008

With the Hot Stove being relatively cold lately, I've been thinking about contracts. Good or bad, every contract is based on value. Here are a few random thoughts I've been having on contract value.

Warning: My math is not a rock solid system, but I think it can make a point.

This past winter, Andruw Jones had to wait on his huge free agent cash in, but despite signing only a two year deal, it was one of the largest we've ever seen based on a year to year basis. Jones made $14,726,910 last year, and yes, we all know he had a dreadful year, but I started to really think about what the Dodgers were paying for.

Granted, he played hurt and came nowhere close to 500 ABs, stats this monumentally bad cannot be ignored.

My basic logic was to take the players OPS+, which measured them against the rest of the league (100 is considered average), and compare it to their salary that year. Basically, how much money did they earn for every OPS+ point, or Salary/OPS+.

Andruw came in with a rating of $433,144 for every OPS+ point. Next I decided to compare him to other players. (Note: I limited it to players who have signed large contracts. Lots of rookies/young players have great years, but I'm basing this on value of large contracts given by GMs.

MVP Albert Pujols...Pujols made almost the same as Jones ($13,870,949), but lead the league with an amazing 190 OPS+. Quick run through the calculator and I found that the Cardinals paid him $73,004 for every OPS+ point, almost six times a better value that Jones.

Now, Pujols did have a great year, but he also is one of the highest-paid players in the game, so I decided to search for better values. 

David Wright had a solid year with a 141 OPS+, while making $5,250,000. This gives him a rating of $37,234 per OPS+ point. Better than Pujols. Better year? No. Better value? You could say so.

Next, I looked at A.L. OPS+ leader Milton Bradley. Bradley made $5,250,000, same as Wright. He lead the league with a 163 OPS+, which gave him a rating of $32,208. Slightly better value than Wright.

Kevin Youkilis, who many think should have been MVP, have a great year with a 143 OPS+. He also made "only" $3,000,000. Theo Epstein should be happy to know that it was a great value at $20,979 in my mega-awesome system. Twenty times a better value than Andruw Jones.

I could have kept going and I'm sure there may be better values I didn't find, but it was just something I was wondering about. Was the point of this to hate on Andruw Jones? No, not at all. Just an interesting look at how players earn their money.